The loons were constantly belly sliding in for landings and long flapping takeoffs, like it was a busy airport.

On this 160-acre lake, I could count 10 at one time on July 22. They were bouncing up and down like some sort of loony dancing – all the while howling and singing and having a great ol’ time.

And all the time while this was happening the one lone young on the lake was hiding in the lily pads and bull rushes as its parents joined in the party. Reminds me of modern-day parenting.

I often wonder if these parties are family reunions? Are they related? Previously born on the lake? They don’t seem to come to fish, but just to visit and party and generally only for a short time, then off they go.

A while later, the parents were once again with the young, so this day he survives the ever watchful eagle that also nests here. Eagles are the main predator of young loons.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

As we get more and more loons using the lake, fewer young survive. There used to be only one pair that nested here. Most years, they raised two that would live to fly south.

Now there are three pairs. Some years, only two chicks survive. About half of the years, we get one chick to survive long enough to fly south.

I'm also seeing loons on small ponds that 40 years ago never had loons on them. Like the one behind my house, for the last three years they have come back and set up territory, then are displaced by a pair of trumpeter swans. There is only so much space and all can not survive.

Man in his ignorance to nature's way is starting to learn this the hard way, but in the end nature always wins but it's at her speed.

I'm starting to see early color and leaves falling, especially in birchs and some hazel and poplars due to drought.

Blueberry and June berry were complete crop failures. Raspberries caught a good rain and produced a fair crop. Chokecherries are starting to turn but are well below average.

Hazel nuts are almost full size and below average crop.

I’m seeing good fawn numbers – and for the first time in years, a few coveys of young grouse.

The monarch butterflies had a good year. A few started their long trip south to central Mexico to overwinter.

Another six weeks of hot weather and then we can enjoy some pleasant days.

Let's hope for rain.

An outdoorsman all his life, Dallas Hudson grew up in Akeley. He tracks the birds, animals, insects, plants of northern Minnesota in his daily journals. Hudson shares his nature observations and photos with KAXE’s Season Watch, the Minnesota Phenology Network and the Park Rapids Enterprise. He works at an official field camp of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on Shingobee Lake, near Akeley.